Blood test to predict age of menopause
A simple blood test may allow doctors to predict the age at which a woman will hit the menopause – and do so with enough accuracy to allow young women to plan a family by knowing how long they can safely put off having children.
A 12-year Iranian study of 266 women found that it was possible to pinpoint the age of menopause by measuring levels of a hormone called AMH, which controls the development of follicles in the ovaries from which eggs develop.
But specialists warned that women should be wary of taking a lifestyle approach to such tests.
Early research suggests that the new test can forecast the menopause to an accuracy of four months. "The results from our study could enable us to make a more realistic assessment of women's reproductive status many years before they reach menopause," said study leader Dr Fahimeh Ramezani Tehrani, from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Iran. However she pointed out that larger studies lasting several years were needed.
Most women hit the menopause – when their oestrogen levels fall, their periods stop, and they cease to ovulate – between the ages of 45 and 55. In the UK the average age is 52.
Menopausal ages for women at different points in their reproductive life were calculated by studying levels of AMH in the blood. "We were able to show there was a good level of agreement between ages at menopause estimated by our model, and the actual age at menopause for a subgroup of 63 women who reached menopause during the study," said Dr Ramezani Tehrani.
The findings will be presented today at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome.
Have shock jocks gone too far after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
World news in pictures
British father faces charges after confessing to slitting his two children's throats in Lyon flat
- 1 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 2 British business: We need to stay in the European Union - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 3 The moral case on tax avoidance is overwhelming - and we all know Google wants to do the right thing
- 4 Sam Wallace: The second coming of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea will be a reunion that can only end in tears
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£500 per day: Orgtel: A top tier banking client urgently requires Finance Gove...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Randstad Education is the market le...
£24000 - £28000 per annum: Randstad Education London: A leading Further Educat...
£500 - £680 per day: Orgtel: Quantitative Risk Analyst, Front Office/Risk Bank...